Month: April 2010

Free Niche Research: Road Trips

free niche research

My son just got home form college to spend some of his vacation with us. He drove form Canada for several days, so last night we were talking about road trips.

Wouldn’t that be a nice niche to research, I thought? With summer almost here, there will be lots of road trips happening and you can benefit.

Top 10 Highest Paying Keywords (from the Google keyword tool)

road trip software $1.91

road trip vacations $1.66

family road trip $1.64

road trip car $1.55

road trip maps $1.36

Canada road trip $1.27

road trip guide $1.21

northern California road trip $1.18

road trip photos $1.04

European road trip $1.03

Top 10 Most Searched Keywords (all phrases are exact matches in Google)

road trip 74,000

road trip planner 27,100

road trip video 27,100

road trips 6,600

road trip movie 5,400

road trip games 4,400

road trip ideas 4,400

road trip songs 3,600

road trip USA 3,600

plan a road trip 2,900


There are several forums dedicated to road trips, where you can learn just about anything about a road trip. Here is one of them:

You can also get information from travel agencies about the different places to visit, and of course, you can go on a road trip yourself and blog about your experience. That would be a really fun project you could do.

Possible Affiliate Programs has lots of options as always.

Don’t forget to search & for affiliate programs as well.

Monetization Suggestions

Create an information site: WOW! there is so much you could do for this niche! AdSense is decent, and you can use it one you informative pages,  but you can also promote your affiliate offers. Things like tools, clothing, vehicle questions and answers, information about wireless communications and other road trip gear reviews.

Build a list! Once they go on a  road trip, many people are hooked. You’ll be able to build a great relationship with your list by offering then information about how to make they trips better, more enjoyable, how to avoid mishaps, etc.

Here are some domains available for this niche now: is available as well as all the other TLDs, and while that specific key phrase doesn’t get a significant amount of searches, it’s a great domain that will allow you to use all of the monetization suggestions above. & .org with 4,400 exact searches monthly, .info & .org getting 2,900 exact searches monthly, .info & .org with 2,400 exact searches monthly & .org with 1,900 exact searches monthly., .info & .org with ,1300 exact searches monthly gets 1,000 exact searches a month.

Do you need keyword research for your niche? I’d love to help: try my Keyword Research Service

Market Research 101

You probably know the importance of choosing a niche for your online business. The benefits of choosing a tight niche market are many, and they include:

* Knowing your market fully so that you can provide solutions to their problems.

* The ability to speak directly to the core of your target market and connect with them on a deep level.

* Being able to niche all of your advertising efforts to target one specific market – this means a better return for your advertising dollars.

* Constructing a business system that is completely tailored to one specific market – this means you waste less time on unrelated projects.

But just how do you effectively research a niche market?

A good starting point for any online business owner is to first start with a topic they are familiar with. This doesn’t necessarily mean all markets/topics will make you money, but it gives you the option of possibly finding a niche you are familiar with and also makes you money.

This is important because you will potentially be spending a large amount of time building your website, writing content and promotions for your niche market. The more familiar you are with the topic the better.

So start by writing down all of the things you know something about and may enjoy writing about. This could be anything from a special hobby you have to a practical skill. Don’t worry just yet whether the topic will make you money, simply jot down all of the things you are familiar with – the research part will follow later.

Once you have your list ready the next step is to narrow it down. Ideally, you want to end up with 3 or 4 topics you’re more passionate about.

Finally, when your short list is ready, it’s time to research each topic for profitability.

Here are a few niches to give you some ideas:

Ice Cream Makers

Job Descriptions

Wedding Favors

Golf Club Sets

More Niches

5 Tricks to Create a Workable Calendar and Actually Get Things Done

Guest Post By Amber Singleton Riviere

My business is one big balancing act.  I have a radio show, an online magazine, and a podcast to keep up with and get produced or published on a regular schedule.  I have three websites with their own respective newsletters to manage.  Not to mention, I have clients and customers through project-based work, writing gigs, and a membership program on one of my sites.  If I think too long about my workload (just writing out that paragraph was enough), I begin feeling nervous and overwhelmed.

Thankfully, I know I can handle it.  Why?  Because all of those moving parts were added over time to an ever-changing schedule that allows me to get the most done in the least amount of time.  That schedule gets a lot of attention, but it helps me to be more productive and more proactive over the direction of my life and business.  Here are just a few of the tricks that I’ve learned to help me create a workable calendar and schedule and actually get things done.

Trick #1: The calendar and routine can’t be static.

My calendar and to-do system is a constant work in progress.  I actually enjoy tweaking and modifying it to better suit what’s going on in my life and business at any given point.  Why change a good thing, you ask?  Well, our lives and businesses are fluid and ever-changing, and one mistake I think we often make with our calendars and routines is thinking that they should remain static.  That’s unrealistic and will lead to us abandoning the system when it stops working for us as our lives and circumstances change.

For example, every afternoon at around 3:30, I stop working for a couple of hours so that I can go for a one-hour walk and run any errands I might have for the day.  It’s a nice routine, and I’m loving it.  I can work from around 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning to 3:30, cut out for a couple of hours, and then come back for an hour or two of work in the evenings.  It’s a nice way to break things up, maintain an exercise schedule, and give myself a mental break mid-afternoon.  In about a month, though, I’m going to have to change the routine.  Why?  I live in Louisiana, and come June, I’ll be able to fry an egg on the concrete.  No way am I going walking in Louisiana heat at 3:30 in the afternoon.  My schedule is going to have to change dramatically.  At that point, the only times that will be halfway comfortable and safe (you can seriously have a heat stroke out there) to walk will be before 7:00 in the morning or after 6:30 or 7:00 in the evening, big difference from my current routine.

If I wasn’t willing to adapt my current schedule and prepare for that change, then I’d abandon the whole routine, and chaos would soon follow.  Nothing would get done, I’d feel very overwhelmed, and I could forget about exercising.

Trick #2: Use the right mix of tools.

I use three tools to manage my schedule.

  • Google Calendar takes care of appointments.  I check it first thing each morning to see what scheduled meetings I have on tap for the day.
  • TimeDriver helps me coordinate appointments with other people.  I do anywhere from six to nine interviews each week with guests for the different media outlets within my business, and coordinating that many schedules was once a nightmare.  Now, I decide my availability for interviews (set blocks of time each day/week), and guests find a time that works for them as far as four to six weeks into the future.  From there, I move over the appointments to Google Calendar.  (Note: TimeDriver actually syncs with Google Calendar automatically, but I prefer to manually add new bookings because of extra steps I need to take around each appointment.)
  • Backpack is my to-do hub.  This is where I keep anything that doesn’t have a set time attached to it.  I have a weekly to-do list template that I duplicate each Monday, which breaks down all my to-dos by day.  For instance, the radio show is due each Friday by 4 PM, so that’s on the Friday to-do list within the page.  I have a lot of recurring to-dos like this, so instead of reinventing the wheel each week and writing out the same things over and over, I use Backpack’s page-duplicating feature to make things simple.  This makes it really easy to manage, and nothing slips through the cracks.

A fourth “tool” I like to use is Google Calendar’s ability to create multiple calendars.  This is where I mock up my overall schedule for the week.  I color-code as many calendars as I need to encompass all the types of activities I do each week and then put in time blocks within the respective calendars.  Once I have it mocked up the way I like, I take a print-screen of it and create an image with it in GIMP.  I then have an image that I can refer to while I get used to a new schedule (see image).  Once I have the image, I hide all the mock-ups within Google Calendar and put back my main ones with appointments and such.

sample schedule

Trick #3: Use time blocks to organize the day.

It’s easy to get distracted and feel pulled in twenty different directions.  Inevitably, I’ll get new ideas all the time and will want to change things up and chase after those new possibilities.  To stay focused on the most important things, I have to think in terms of my “Big 3,” the top three priorities of my work life or business.  For example, I have to publish and produce content on a regular basis.  That’s a very big rock to move each week, so it’s one of my “Big 3” and gets its fair share of my attention.

I divide my days into quadrants, giving the three big rocks (the “Big 3”) two hours of concentrated time each day.  The last quarter of the day goes to admin-type things, like responding to emails, staying in the loop on blog feeds and social networks, commenting on blog posts, etc.  I can work above and beyond a 40-hour week, if I want to chase things that aren’t top priorities, but I absolutely have to get those big rocks moved each day at minimum.

Trick #4: Trust the system.

All the planning in the world doesn’t amount to much, if I don’t follow the plan.  I keep two tabs open in my web browser at all times, my Backpack’s weekly to-do list and my Google calendar with all my appointments.  When I get to the end of a work block, I check the calendar for time-sensitive appointments, and then I go to the to-do list.  If I’m getting used to a new routine/schedule, I put the schedule image as a tab in the browser as well so that I can refer to it often.  It usually takes a couple of weeks to adjust to it, and then I can go back to the main two browser tabs.

Trick #5: Stay true to your intentions.

I map out my routine and my to-dos when I’m clear-headed, not stressed, and not overly attached to outcomes.  That way, I’m sure to create an objective and achievable schedule and plan for myself.  On top of that, it lets me trust the system even more, knowing that I’m clear about the intentions for my life and business and know exactly what should have my attention.

Once I know that, I just have to stay true to it.  Email gets closed, alerts are turned off, and my phones are set to go to voice mail until it’s admin time.  My full and undivided attention is on that one big rock in front of me, and if I can give it it’s full block each day, I know I’ll make major progress by week’s end.

Managing the days is not always easy, especially with so many distractions and interruptions tempting us to get off track, but with the right planning, the right mix of tools, and a clear focus, it’s much easier to approach the day with purpose and actually get things done.

Amber Singleton Riviere is the founder of Upstart Smart, a resource for small business owners, as well as the Rock Your Genius radio show, which focuses on small business and entrepreneurship.  She also runs the Give Back Project, a web design and marketing firm, and writes for websites like Web Worker Daily on topics relevant to small business owners.  You can find out about all of Amber’s work by visiting

Free Niche Research: Ice Cream Makers

free niche research

It’s almost summer, and we’ll soon be looking for ways to cool off. Of course, there are pools and air conditioning, but what better way to do it than some delicious ice cream?

Today’s niche will prepare your visitors for the best home made ice cream ever, because you’ll teach them about ice cream makers.


Top 10 Highest Paying Keywords (from the Google keyword tool)

Cuisinart ice cream makers $2.24

automatic ice cream makers $1.70

Cuisinart ice cream make $1.69

ice cream maker sale $1.44

ice cream maker machines $1.44

commercial ice cream maker $1.40

magimix ice cream maker $1.39

soft serve ice cream maker $1.34

soft ice cream maker $1.31

professional ice cream maker $1.31


musso ice cream maker $1.24

ice cream machine maker $1.20

deni soft serve ice cream maker $1.19

used ice cream maker $1.18

Top 10 Most Searched Keywords (all phrases are exact matches in Google)

ice cream maker 110,000

ice cream makers 60,500

Cuisinart ice cream maker 27,100

kitchenaid ice cream maker 8,100

electric ice cream maker 6,600

soft serve ice cream maker 5,400

white mountain ice cream maker 4,400

electric ice cream makers 3,600

commercial ice cream maker 2,900

Cuisinart ice cream maker recipes 2,900


hand crank ice cream maker 2,400

ice cream maker machine 2,400

ice cream maker recipes 2,400

home ice cream makers 1,300


Probably your best research for this niche is talking to people who own an ice cream maker. But you can also read the consumer reports, research/interview manufacturers, and participate in ice cream forums.
Nostalgia ICMP400WD Vintage Collection 4-Quart Wood Bucket Electric Ice Cream Maker with Easy-Clean LinerNostalgia ICMP400WD Vintage Collection 4-Quart Wood Bucket Electric Ice Cream Maker with Easy-Clean Liner
Possible Affiliate Programs has lots of options as always.

Don’t forget to search & for affiliate programs as well.

Monetization Suggestions

Build a list! Create a report about the best home made ice creams, or something similar, and gather subscribers. You’ll then be able to send a weekly/bi-weekly ice cream recipe, announce upcoming ice cream machines,  recommend icecream related gadgets, like bowls, scoops, containers, etc.  AdSense payouts are not bad alt all, and will go well with an informative site. Of course, don’t forget your money pages, where you recommend your preferred Ice cream makers.

Here are some domains available for this niche now:, .net, .info & biz with 880 exact searches and a month. with 1,300 exact searches monthly. gets 2,900 exact searches a month. & .biz getting 6,600 exact searches a month., .info & .biz  with 1,000 exact searches monthly

Do you need keyword research for your niche? I’d love to help: try my Keyword Research Service

How to Double Your PPC Results Without Spending an Additional Penny

step-by-step affiliate marketing with AdWords

There are two ways to double your PPC results:

1. Double the amount you spend daily by performing the following calculation and entering it into the daily spend box. (s = to your current daily budget;  b represents your future daily budget):

double adwords spending

2. Double the effectiveness of your Adwords campaign. Here is your formula (c = conversion rate, p = future conversion rate):

increase conversion rate

Doubling your conversion rate gives the exact same effect as doubling your PPC spend. It also gives you the upper hand…

Pushing your competition out of the PPC market

Imagine getting double the results your competitor gets for every dollar you spend. It would allow you to drive prices up and allow you to still make a good profit. However, your competition may not be so fortunate. If they can only spend $2000 per month, and they have to double their bids to compete with you, they will have to have downtime where there ads are not running. Eventually it will become too costly to compete and they will be forced to find business in other venues.

Your competition will have no idea what hit them, especially since only 11% of companies use conversion rate optimization. More than likely, they have never even heard the term.

Google Website Optimizer

All though there are many software solutions out there for conducting conversion rate optimization, I have found Google’s Website Optimizer to be everything that I need. Plus, it’s free.

Google offers two types of testing:

multi abtest optimizer

Google divides up your visitors across the different pages or page combos (multi-variate testing) and monitors how many conversions each produces. At the end of the test, the page with the most conversions wins and you can roll that out onto your site.

Combining Google Website Optimizer with Google Adwords

Inside of your Google Adword account click on Reporting -> Website Optimization and you can get started with Google website optimizer. The experiment will be a part of your Adwords reporting and give you more details on what is working and what doesn’t.

adwords optimizer

When most people start optimizing their website, they get tunnel vision on their site’s content and graphics. However, to really get the best results you should run several tests from different ad groups.

Page x may not perform well with the ads in ad group 1, but perform super well with ad group 2. Typically the reason for this is that the page meets the expectations the ad gave the visitor.

Finally, you will need to run the tests again with the best ad group and best pages, but with different keywords to see which keywords perform the best for each ad and page.

Sounds complicated, but it really is not that bad.  Here is a mind map to explain the process. We will use multivariate testing for this mind map, but the principle is still the same for a/b split testing.

ppc optimizer

Once I have completed the above process, I like to go back and micro-target the ads for specific keywords with different combos to see if we can get even more of a conversion rate increase.

Jason Capshaw is founder of MyWebTronics, an Atlanta internet marketing firm. He resides in Atlanta with his wife and two children.

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